Improving the Cost Efficiency and Readiness of MC-130 Aircrew Training

A Case Study

by Sarah Evans

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The MC-130 is a multi-role aircraft which plays a vital role in both times of war and peace as a key enabler of U.S. Special Operations Forces. Readiness training is particularly important for this asset, which must be ready to deploy at all times. As the U.S. Military budget decreases, the costs of training policy alternatives must be carefully evaluated to maximize readiness with the available resources. The purpose of this research is to inform decision makers about the respective effects on costs and readiness of existing and potential MC-130 aircrew continuation training policies. Frequency and duration of sorties, having a colocated simulator, the proportion of temporary duty training, and role specialization were investigated in this research. In order to accomplish this goal a literature review was conducted and a data gathering internship was carried out in the 353rd Special Operations Group at Kadena Airbase, Japan. Using the information gathered an integer linear optimization model was developed along with feasible model inputs. Cost analysis was performed for each of the policies in a variety of scenarios. Increasing the proportion of temporary duty training, and implementing role specialization policies were found to be favorable alternatives in some cases. Having a colocated simulator was found to provide the most significant savings for continuation training overall.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    MC-130 Background

  • Chapter Three

    Aircrew Training and the MC-130

  • Chapter Four


  • Chapter Five

    Results Section

  • Chapter Six


  • Appendix A

    MC-130J Availability Rates

  • Appendix B

    Interview Protocol

  • Appendix C

    Informed Consent Document

  • Appendix D

    Data Safeguarding Plan

  • Appendix E

    Calculating the Binomial Coefficients

  • Appendix F

    Sample Excel Based Model Input

  • Appendix G

    Python Travelling Salesperson Model

  • Appendix H

    Sample GLPK Model

Research conducted by

This document was submitted as a dissertation in September 2015 in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the doctoral degree in public policy analysis at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. The faculty committee that supervised and approved the dissertation consisted of Brien Alkire (Chair), Anthony Rosello, and James Bigelow.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Dissertation series. Pardee RAND dissertations are produced by graduate fellows of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, the world's leading producer of Ph.D.'s in policy analysis. The dissertations are supervised, reviewed, and approved by a Pardee RAND faculty committee overseeing each dissertation.

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